NANAIMO -- The Nanaimo Buccaneers were unable to make up any ground on two key opponents this past week in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.
They were, however, able to secure a win Thursday, September 27th against the Peninsula Panthers, in a double overtime thriller.
The following night, the Campbell River Storm stifled the Buccaneers offence at the Rod Brind’Amour arena, 3-1. Kyle Jennings broke a scoreless tie at the halfway point of the game, and Brett Kinley put the Storm up by a pair in the third period. Darian Harris made things close with under five minutes remaining in regulation. Damon Kramer put the game out of reach with an empty net goal.
The Buccaneers showed a lot of heart and determination Thursday night at the Nanaimo Ice Center against the Saanich Braves. The Braves entered the contest not having lost a game in regulation, and left with that record in tact. The Buccaneers put Saanich on the powerplay on nine occasions, two of which were 5-on-3 man advantages. The Braves had two different 2-goal leads, and the Buccaneers kept coming back, fighting to redeem themselves for minor offences that led to the penalties. For the most part, they succeeded, bouncing back with timely goals.
Josh Zary continued a hot start to his rookie campaign with an assist and a highlight reel goal past a penurious Connor Cheyne. Goaltender Austin Dendl, another rookie, was given the large task, and responded well, stopping 30 of 34 shots against. New captain Billy Walters had several textbook shifts, all but tying the game while shorthanded. He scored once and set up Josh Zary all alone in the slot to make it a one-goal game.
Harrison Tucker got his first VIJHL goal, and defenceman Lucas Patton added a couple of assists. The Bucs are surely eager to get another shot at the league leading Braves, considering they were without the services of Darian Harris.
The Buccaneers now prepare for a home and home series with the Comox Valley Glacier Kings, the Buccaneers travelling Saturday to Comox.